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Mobile App Discovery Imperfect Tools And The Overspend Or Die Dilemma

Report by Karol Severin and Martyn Davies
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The 20,000 Foot View

Discovery is accentuating the app economy divide.  Superstar app developers can afford TV ads and supercharged digital campaigns to distinguish their apps from the ever-growing pool of competitors, leaving smaller developers increasingly locked out. Supercell and King’s combined        annual marketing spend is not only out of reach for most, it also drives up mobile ad costs with inventory supply struggling to keep pace with demand. While TV ad campaigns may be proven brand builders, the approach only works for the fraction of developers who can afford it. Consequently barriers to entry, or at least to success, rise applying further pressure to the sustainability of the app economy. Big companies always have big budgets but the impact is stronger in mobile because organic app discovery is not fit for purpose. Improving the efficiency of app discovery tools both within app stores as well as from developers themselves will lead to higher returns on marketing spend and allow new developers to enter the market in a more competitive manner. 

Key Findings

           of smartphone users wanted to discover a new app but didn’t know where to look        of consumers downloaded an app after someone told them about it, making word of mouth the most prevalent app discovery method
  • While        of smartphone users have downloaded an app browsing the top        charts, a comparable        downloaded an app beyond the top       
  • Advertising has worked on        of smartphone owners. App store advertising accounts for        of those 
  • Despite its vast impact, App Store Optimization (ASO) is currently an underused app discovery tool amongst UK retailers
  • Audiences aged below        are the most active app discoverers, but the age-defined activity gap will narrow
  •        of iOS users downloaded an app after seeing an advert compared to        of Android users        of Android users downloaded an app from the top        chart compared to        of iOS users

Companies mentioned in this report: Machine Zone, Supercell, Apple, uCool, Google

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